Sie sind auf Seite 1von 35

International Organization Foundation

'Women and Children First': Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans
1991-95
Author(s): R. Charli Carpenter
Source: International Organization, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Autumn, 2003), pp. 661-694
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the International Organization Foundation
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3594843 .
Accessed: 11/03/2014 09:35
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .
http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of
content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms
of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Cambridge University Press and International Organization Foundation are collaborating with JSTOR to
digitize, preserve and extend access to International Organization.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

'Women and Children First':


Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian
Evacuation in the Balkans 1991-95
R. Charli Carpenter

Abstract

in theformerYugoslavia,adultcivilianmenwere
Of all noncombatants

most likely to be massacredby enemy forces. Why, therefore,did internationalagencies mandatedwith the "protectionof civilians" evacuate women and children, but
not military-age men, from besieged areas? This article reviews the operational dilemmas faced by protection workers in the former Yugoslavia when negotiating access to civilian populations.I arguethat a social constructivistapproachincorporating
gender analysis is requiredto explain both the civilian protection community's discourse and its operationalbehavior.First, gender beliefs constitutethe discursive strategies on which civilian protection advocacy is based. Second, gender norms operate
in practice to constrain the options available to protection workers in assisting civilians. These two causal pathways converged in the former Yugoslavia to produce effects disastrous to civilians, particularlyadult men and male adolescents.

Larry. No men under sixty, ok?


UNPROFOR General Morrillon to UNHCR official Hollingworth,
Srebrenica, 1993.
Of all war-affectednoncombatantsworldwide, those most at risk of summary execution are adult civilian males.' The propensity of belligerents to single out adult
men for massacrehas now been documentedin dozens of ongoing conflicts.2 More
often than women, children, or the elderly, military-age men are assumed to be
Thisprojectwas supportedin partby a JaneGrantFellowshipthroughthe Centerfor the Studyof
Womenin Societyat theUniversityof Oregon.I amindebtedto the availabilityandengagementof all
thanksto DavidHarland,Mark
thoseat theICRCandUNHCRduringtheinterviewprocess;particular
Cutts,andCharlotteLindsey.AdamJonesprovidedthe insightthatled to this empiricalstudy.I am
also gratefulto RonaldMitchell,RobertDarst,LarsSkalnes,DennisGalvan,AnitaWeiss,Wendy
Weber,JulieMertus,AlysonSmith,SmailCecic,HelenKinsella,DebraDeLaet,MichaelBarnett,Lisa
Martin,KristinWilliams,ValerieSperling,JordanSalberg,and StuartShulmanfor encouragement
andhelpfulfeedback.
1. See UnitedNations1999a;andJones2000.
sourcefor suchdatais the humanrightswatchdoggroupGendercide
2. The mostcomprehensive
Watch,whose website contains extensive case literatureand news reports. See (http://www.
gendercide.org).
International Organization 57, Fall 2003, pp. 661-694
? 2003 by The IO Foundation.

DOI: 10.1017/S002081830357401X

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

662

InternationalOrganization

"potential"combatants and are therefore treated by armed forces as if they are in


fact legitimate targets.3
Internationalagencies mandated with the protection of war-affected civilians
generally aim to provide protection in a neutral manner,but when necessary they
prioritize the protection of the "especially vulnerable."According to the professional standardsrecently articulated by the InternationalCommittee of the Red
Cross (ICRC), "special attention by organizations for specific groups should be
determinedon the basis of an assessment of their needs and vulnerability as well
as the risks to which they are exposed."4 If adult men are most likely to lose their
lives directly as a result of the fall of a besieged town, one would expect that,
given these standards,such agencies would emphasize protection of civilian men
in areas under siege by armed forces. Nonetheless, in places where civilians have
been evacuatedfrom besieged areasin an effort to save lives, it is typically women,
children, and the elderly who have composed the evacuee populations.5
Consider the wars of secession in the formerYugoslavia. Of the 18,000 missing
persons after the wars, the ICRC estimated that 92 percent were men and only 8
percent women.6 Although many died as soldiers, reluctant conscripts, or in detention and forced labor camps, others were the victim of highly discriminatemassacres in which military-age male civilians were separatedfrom women, children,
and the elderly and executed while the latter were permitted to flee.' This pattern
was established early in the war within towns that had fallen to the Bosnian Serb
Army (BSA). When the debate over whether to evacuate began, senior protection
officers at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) insisted that only persons facing "anacute, life-threateningsituation"should be evacuated.8"Ourresponsibility, as we see it, is to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable
groups," read a UNHCR field report in December 1993.9 Yet when humanitarian
agencies later began to evacuate "vulnerable"civilians en masse from war zones,
the evacuees were nearly always women, children, and the elderly. Able-bodied
"military-age"male civilians (precisely those civilians most likely to be killed or
detained on suspicion of engaging in hostilities) were almost never given safe passage along with their families. Why?
Below, I argue that a social constructivist approachincorporatinggender analysis is requiredto explain both the discourse and behavior of actors in the civilian

3. See Lindsey 2001, 29; and IASC 2002, 175.


4. Caverzasio 2000, 67.
5. For example, see UNHCR Briefing Notes, "Georgia:Chechen Airbridge Evacuation Complete,"
17 December 1999; ICRC News, "Yugoslavia/Kosovo: ICRC Assists Civilians Caught up in Clashes,"
11 March 1999; and ICRC News, "FormerYugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Over 300 Civilians Evacuated," 13 June 2001.
6. GendercideWatch, "Case Study: Bosnia-Herzegovina"available at (http://www.gendercide.org/
case_bosnia.html). Accessed 20 October 2002.
7. Helsinki Watch 1992/1993.
8. Quoted in Minear et al. 1994.
9. See UNHCR Update, December 1993, xii.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 663

protection network.1'By this I mean the transnationalcommunity of citizens, journalists, protectionorganizations,and statespersonswho, believing that civilian immunity norms should be respected, aim at the more widespreadimplementationof
those norms, through persuasion or purposeful action." Gender ideas are embedded in both the category "innocent civilian" and the category "especially vulnerable." These ideas exert constitutive effects on the discourse and regulative effects
on the behavior of actors within the network.

Sex-Selective Killing and Protection: A Gender


Constructivist Approach
While gender analyses in internationalrelations (IR) have traditionallybeen associated with feminism,'2 the use of gender as an explanatory framework does not
necessitate a simultaneous feminist perspective or an emphasis on women's needs
and interests.'3 In seeking to integrate gender into forms of ideational analysis
more familiar to neoliberals and conventional constructivists, this study departs
from most IR feminism in several ways. First, I use gender primarily as an analytical tool ratherthan a means of critiquing or destabilizing gender hierarchies.'4
Second, whereas IR feminism has often problematized the traditional research
agenda of internationalrelations,15 "genderconstructivism"as attemptedhere aims
to advance that very agenda: the dependent variable is not women's emancipation
or gender equity per se, but the emerging civilian protection network and its operational strategies. Third, while recognizing the impact of gendered assumptions
on women, I take equal account of the extent to which adult men are rendered
vulnerable by gendered institutions and norms.
Explanatorygender analysis involves (1) demonstratingthat a taken-for-granted
belief about men and women is actually socially constructed ratherthan biologically inherent; and (2) demonstratingthat those adhering to the belief act differently thanthey would in the absence of the belief. Genderbeliefs-here, the socially
constructed and often misleading belief that women and children, but not adult
men, are noncombatants-produce sex-selective behavior, such as massacres that
target adult men and humanitarianevacuations that rescue women, children, and
the elderly. The point of this study is to unpack the conceptual misfit between
these actions and explain both how they have come to pass and how they have
come to be seen as so unquestionable.

10. Minear 2002, 5.


11. Keck and Sikkink 1998.
12. See Zalewski 1995, 341; Peterson 1992, 1; Whitworth 1994, 39; and Keohane 1991, 45.
13. Carpenter2002a. See, however, Carver forthcoming.
14. Many IR feminists consider critique a constitutive aspect of feminist theorizing. See Whitworth
1994, 2; Steans 1998, 15; Cockburn 2001, 16; Locher and Prugl 2001; and Kinsella forthcoming.
15. See Enloe 2000; Peterson 1992; and Tickner 2001, 139.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

664

InternationalOrganization

Sex-Selective Killing of Men and Older Boys in the Balkans


Ethnic cleansing of Bosniacs16 and Croats by the Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) and
paramilitaryforces, backed by the Yugoslav NationalArmy (JNA), followed a characteristic patterndiscernible from the earliest periods of the Balkan wars." First,
the BSA and JNA troops would surroundand blockade whichever town was to be
attacked. Supplies to the town would be cut off, and indiscriminateshelling would
commence. When resistance flagged, Bosnian Serb paramilitarieswould enter the
town on foot.
Unlike the siege itself, the violence of the irregularsduring the fall of a town
was discriminate and highly systematic. Militiamen would begin by publicly torturing and executing the settlement's political and cultural elite.18 Of the remaining population, women, children, and the very old were typically permittedto flee
or forcibly deported, experiencing varying degrees of harassmentalong the way.19
Wounded men were sometimes evacuated as well, usually as part of a prisoner
exchange facilitated by the ICRC.20Younger women were frequently singled out
for rape, some transportedto concentrationcamps and held for indefinite periods;
some were killed after being raped.21 Able-bodied males between the ages of sixteen and sixty were sometimes also detained, usually to face torture, forced labor,
and possibly death. However, adult males were instead frequently killed on the
spot.22In general, wherever villages fell to the BSA, unarmedadult men and older
boys were most likely to immediately lose their lives.23
The argumentis not that women, children, and the elderly did not suffer. Forced
displacement itself is a crime, and in the Balkans it occurred in particularlyatrocious circumstances.24As noted, women were targetedfor sexual tortureand were
not always spared death.25However, one's chances of at least surviving the siege
and fall of a town was typically much higher for women (and higher yet for slightly
older women with small children) than for males between sixteen and sixty. Given

16. The term "Bosniac" designates Bosnian Muslims and reflects both local terminology and the
fact that affiliations after the onset of the war were ethnic ratherthan religious. I use the term "Bosnian" to refer to all the people living in the disputed territoryof Bosnia-Herzegovina during the war,
including Bosniacs, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats, and to the Sarajevo-basedgovernment.
17. On the history of the wars, see Rogel 1998; Cigar 1995; and Burg and Shoup 1999.
18. See Maas 1996, 39; and Silber and Little 1996, 244.
19. Although this was the general pattern,there were plenty of examples of seemingly more indiscriminate killing as well. See Wilmer 2002.
20. Mercier 1994.
21. Stigalmeyer 1994. Although women and girls of child-bearing age were at the greatest risk of
sexual violence in Bosnia, women of all ages, as well as men and boys, were sexually abused during
the war. See Askin 1997.
22. See Ball 1999, 128; Johnson 1999, 150; Honig and Both 1997, 4; and Danner 2000, 58.
23. Jones 2000. I disagree with Jones that the sex-selective targetingof males of a particularethnic
group constitutes genocide against men. See Carpenter2002b.
24. For example, several women and children were crushed to death during the 1993 mass evacuation from Srebrenica.
25. For an empirical study of the way in which Bosnian women experienced violence during the
war, see Nikolic-Ristanovic 2000.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 665

the particularvulnerabilityof men and boys to slaughterin this context, why were
protection workers leaving civilian men and boys behind while rescuing other civilians from besieged areas?

Sex-Selective Evacuation of Womenand YoungerChildren


in the Balkans
At the onset of the wars, protection agencies in the region did not have a specific
mandate to evacuate civilians per se.26 Indeed, it was unclear during the Bosnian
experience precisely what "protectionof civilians" meant in the context of ethnic
cleansing.27The UNHCR and the ICRC were initially engaged primarily in the
delivery of relief and monitoringand discouragingviolations of humanitarianlaw.28
While some organizations such as the United Nations InternationalChildren's
Emergency Fund (UNICEF) are mandated to target protection toward specific
groups, both UNHCR and ICRC subscribe to the basic humanitarianprinciple of
impartiality.29In cases where resources or opportunities were limited however,
the agencies would fall back on the "reverse-triage"principle of prioritizing the
most vulnerable.A UNHCR field manual describes the relationshipbetween these
principles in the following words:
Humanitarianassistance should be provided without distinction. Relief must
address the needs of all individuals and groups who are suffering, without
regardto nationality,political or ideological beliefs, race, religion, sex or ethnicity. Needs assessment and relief activities should be geared toward priority for the most urgent cases.30
In the latter cases, the goal was to "determineon the basis of an assessment of
needs and vulnerability as well as risks to which [civilians] are exposed."31 According to Senior UNHCR Protection Officer Wilbert Van Hovell, these were the
main criteria for evacuation in particular:protection officials should determine
"whether the persons are in an acute, life-threatening situation weighed against
various local constraintsand possible adverse consequences."32
While the ICRC would often arrangefor medical evacuations of the wounded
(usually in exchange for prisoners elsewhere), mass evacuations of "vulnerable
groups" developed only gradually as a response to protection agencies' inability

26. UNHCR 2000. The ICRC does customarily evacuate wounded and sick, civilians and combatants, from war zones as mandatedby the First Geneva Convention. See Harroff-Tavel1993, 195-220.
27. Reiff 1995, 209.
28. See Loescher 2001; Berry 1997; and ICRC 1995.
29. Weller 2000.
30. Wolfson and Wright 1994, 7.
31. Caverzasio 2000, 67.
32. Quoted in Minear et al. 1994, 67.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

666

InternationalOrganization

to protect civilians in situ.33A few small evacuations had taken place early in the
war.Typicallysome women and childrenmight be allowed out along with wounded,
space permitting. It was after the mass evacuation from Srebrenica in 1993 that
the protectioncommunity resigned itself to the doctrine of "helpingpeople move"
en masse, which continued as late in the war as the fall of the eastern enclave of
Zepa.34
Two kinds of mass evacuation scenarios occurredin the Balkans.35Evacuations
of women, children, and the elderly during the fall of a town were sometimes
carried out by the conquering forces themselves, and there was seldom room to
negotiate terms at that point. For example, in 1991 the ICRC arrived during the
fall of Vukovar,an eastern Croatiantown that had until then survived eighty days
of shelling.36The JNA was deporting women, children, and the elderly and killing
or arresting the adult men, including many hospital patients.37ICRC delegates
had been permitted in to evacuate wounded and sick from the hospital but found
that the JNA did not honor the agreement. Rather, women, children, and the elderly were being bussed away and both civilian and war-wounded men were being detained, and/or shot.38Although the ICRC delegates made efforts to monitor
what was happening to the men as well as to protest the deportations, the delegates were unsuccessful in preventing a massacre, and it is not clear what else
they might have done.39
In "preemptive"evacuations, protection workers had more agency. For example, in April 1993, UNHCR evacuated several thousandwomen and children, along
with wounded, from the enclave of Srebrenica, which was blockaded and under
bombardment.40Because the town had not yet fallen, men and boys were not under imminent threat of attack: only two years later would approximately 8,000
males perish at the hands of the BSA. However there were serious concerns that
the enclave was shortly to fall, as BSA forces had recently overrun two other enclaves at Konjevic Polje and Cerska.41Moreover, because shelling killed indiscriminately,men stood no less an imminent risk of death or dismembermentthan
anyone else.42 Although some of the able-bodied males of Srebrenicawere fighters, many were the same civilian husbands, fathers, and older brotherswho would
end up in mass graves two years later. By 1993, protection workers were already

33. Minear et al. 1994.


34. See Reiff 1995; and Harland 1999.
35. My use of the term is limited to mass evacuations of groups from besieged cities, excluding
medical evacuation of sick or wounded individuals: these cases do not concern civilian protection as
such.
36. Neier 1998.
37. Stover and Peres 1998.
38. Silber and Little 1996, 180.
39. Mercier 1994.
40. UNHCR 2000.
41. Phone interview, former UNHCR field officer, October 2002.
42. Vulliamy 1994, 276.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 667

aware that once a town fell to the BSA, men and boys were the most likely to be
executed. Their mandate was to evacuate the most vulnerable civilians. Why did
women, children, and the elderly, but not "military-age"civilian men, gain access
to UNHCR evacuation convoys out of the enclave?
Why ConventionalExplanations Fail
Few commentators on humanitarianevacuation in the Balkans have questioned
this operationalpattern.43The conventional wisdom is that women, children, and
the elderly actually were the most vulnerable populations and thus were (rightly)
prioritized for humanitarianassistance on the basis of their vulnerability.44Another, related hypothesis is that most adult men in internal conflicts actually are
mobilized as combatants,and therefore, whatever fighting men's risk of mortality,
"civilian" protection policies apply primarily to other demographic groups.45If
either explanation is valid, then sex-selective assistance policies would be perfectly rational, given the mandate of civilian protection agencies to (1) protect
civilians, ratherthan combatants,and (2) apply a "reverse-triage"approach,assisting the most vulnerable first.
But neither of these suggestions conforms to the facts within war-affected regions in general, nor in the specific context presented here. First, there is no evidence that all, or even the majority,of "military-agemen" are actually engaged in
direct military activities within war-affected regions. While there are no reliable
global statistics on the proportionof men who are mobilized in internal conflicts,
the numberof men that go into hiding to avoid conscription or are killed unarmed
suggests a large population of unarmedadult male noncombatantsin any particular context.46John Mueller has argued that ethnic wars today are carried out by
small groups of "thugs"ratherthan mass armies, leaving a majority of adult men
and older boys in the civilian sector.47Even in Bosnia, with its traditionof universal conscriptionand peoples' war, mass resistance to conscriptioncharacterizedthe
conflict: approximately700,000 people had fled to avoid conscription at the war's
onset, and more than 9,000 charges of desertion were initiated in 1992 alone.48
Neither are women always more vulnerable to all forms of attack than adult
men. At a general level, while small children and the elderly (along with the sick,
wounded, and disabled) possess intrinsic vulnerabilities, this is not uniformly true
of adult women nor of older children (boys and girls).49The assumptionof women
and children's vulnerability is often justified by their lack of access to arms.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.

The notable exception was Adam Jones's 1994 article.


For examples, see Mertus 2000, 6; and Amnesty International1998, 1.
For example, see Cockburn2001, 21.
Jones 2000.
Mueller 2000.
Wilmer 2002, 157.
Lindsey 2001, 28.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

668

InternationalOrganization

However, although to a lesser extent than adult men, adult women and older children often participate in hostilities alongside male fighters and irregulars.5?With
respect to Bosnia, a UNHCR official told me, "some of the most gifted fighters in
the region were women."51
Women, girls, and younger boys are vulnerable in particularto specific forms
of attack such as sexual violence, and to exploitation and deprivationthat accompanies displacement, as they are more likely than men to flee besieged areas.52
They are also no less vulnerable than anyone else to indiscriminate attacks such
as shelling. However, in cases where adult men and older boys are singled out for
execution, adult women and younger children are the least vulnerable to direct,
lethal attack. In the Balkans for example, one witness reporteda paramilitarygunman announcing: "'The women and children will be left alone' ... as for the
Muslim men, he ran his finger across his throat."53
Thus, neither relative invulnerabilitynor combatant status explains the neglect
of men by the civilian protection community in the Balkans. A more promising
avenue of inquiry is to examine the ideas about gender roles in armed conflict
held collectively by the players in these contexts. Adam Jones has postulated that
the internationalcommunity routinely overlooks the specific vulnerabilities of civilian men in complex emergencies.54He discusses the exclusion of men from
evacuation convoys as emblematic of this broader problem. Although his treatment of evacuation is primarilydescriptive, he suggests that prescriptive genderbased norms guided the behavior of belligerents, war-affected populations and
protection workers alike: "The 'women and children first' rule seems as operative
among besieged populationsas it once was for ocean-liner passengers abandoning
ship."55 While I agree with Jones that gender analysis is indispensable to explaining this pattern,his claim requires more systematic assessment. Precisely how did
gender beliefs associating women and children with innocence and vulnerability
operate so as to channel only certain civilians onto evacuation convoys?
Methodology
As Lake and Powell have observed, it is all too easy for constructivists to take
norms as a given when conducting research.56Thus I first evaluate whether gen50. See Moser and Clark 2000; Lindsey 2001; Seager 1997; and Bennett, Bexley, and Warnock
1995.
51. Personal interview, October 2002; see also Kesic 1999, 188.
52. Mertus 2000. This was particularlythe case in Bosnia: see UNHCR-UNICEF-WHO 1992, 5.
Women and children are also disproportionatelyhit by the longer-termhealth effects of armed conflict,
against which there is little protection in internationalhumanitarianlaw. See Ghobarahet al. 2003; and
Gardamand Jervis 2001.
53. Quoted in Honig and Both 1997, 76.
54. Jones 2002a.
55. Ibid.
56. Lake and Powell 1999, 33.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 669

der beliefs indeed are embedded within the two concepts most central to the moral
language of the civilian protection network:the "innocentcivilian" and the "especially vulnerable."While Helen Kinsella has argued that gender is constitutive of
the very civilian/combatant distinction, I make a more limited claim."7 Gender
constitutes not these concepts themselves but the sociolinguistic practices through
which the concepts are deployed in internationalsociety.
These findings are based on a review of scholarship and legal argumentson the
norm of noncombatantimmunity, as well as a content analysis of the language
used in the United Nations (UN) Security Council to discuss the protection of
civilians in armed conflict. I compare the assumptions embedded in these language practices to the actual sex-distributionsof combatancy and vulnerability in
contemporaryarmedconflicts to arguethis is idea-based discourse ratherthan simply descriptive of reality.
MainstreamIR theorists want to know more than why actors think and speak as
they do. For many, the most interesting question is how these ideas then generate
political outcomes different from those that would be expected in their absence.
Thus, the second section below examines the regulative effects of gender on protection agencies' policy-preferences with respect to evacuation of civilians from
besieged areas.58Beginning with the Jones hypothesis, I develop several other
possible explanations for the sex-selective evacuation procedures. These competing explanations are then evaluated through a critical reexamination of the 1993
evacuation of Srebrenica.
The causal analysis is based on historical accounts and diplomatic records, supplemented with a series of in-depth interviews with UNHCR and ICRC staff between May and December 2002. These organizations were the most actively
involved in the former Yugoslavia during the period in question.59More importantly, UNHCR and the ICRC have also engaged in the greatest process of critical
self-reflection and analysis regarding the ethics of humanitarianevacuation as a
civilian protection mechanism.60
While many examples of humanitarianevacuation have been mentioned, the
case of the first Srebrenicacrisis (1993) is examined in greater depth for two reasons. First, as the most high-profile mass evacuation, there is a fair amount of
available evidence on which to base analysis. Second, I am interested in cases
where protection workers had some agency in negotiating the terms of evacuation. Emphasizing Srebrenica means generalizability is limited: for example,
Srebrenicawas more politicized than other humanitarianoperationsand was larger

57. Kinsella 2003.


58. Policy-preferences (or "preferencesover strategies") should be distinguished from "preferences
over outcomes":the latter is independentof the immediate strategic context, whereas the former refers
to the rankingof strategic options for achieving preferredoutcomes given the constraints of a particular scenario. See Frieden 1999, 46-47; and Moravcsik 1997.
59. Minear et al. 1994, 42.
60. See Caverzasio 2000; ICRC 1995; and UNHCR 2000.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

670

InternationalOrganization

in scale than many other ad hoc evacuations. However, the public nature of the
evacuation poses an advantage in examining the manipulationof moral argument
and the impact this had on decision-making behavior. Moreover, by tracing the
logic behind this evacuation, one can draw some conclusions about the conditions
under which this logic would apply elsewhere.
Those interviewed included headquartersstaff in both UNHCR and ICRC, and
protection workers formerly engaged in field operations in the Balkans between
1991-95, including several of those present for the 1993 evacuation of Srebrenica.
A few additional interviews were held with personnel outside these agencies, in
particularofficials from the formerUN ProtectionForces in Bosnia (UNPROFOR).
While this does not represent a cross-section of the organizations involved, the
data gatheredprovides a useful supplement to the picture that emerges from written accounts. These interviews were constructed so as to gauge whether sexselective evacuation strategies could be attributeddirectly to gender beliefs or to
more complex strategic factors involved in negotiating access to besieged populations. Quotations of individuals by name are used only with their permission.

Constitutive Effects: Gender, Norms,


and the Protection of Civilians
In this section, gender is employed as a category of analysis for evaluating the
norm of civilian immunity and the protection discourse it has enabled. I follow
Peterson and some standpoint feminists in distinguishing gender (social beliefs)
from sex (biological characteristics).61 Gender refers to the culturally constructed
beliefs that regulate relations between and among men and women, manifest at
various levels of social organization.62Thus, I have called the singling out of men
for execution "sex-selective massacre" while I call the innocent civilian a "gendered" concept.
Following Krasner,I see norms as "standardsof behavior defined in terms of
rights and obligations," distinct from more specific rules: "prescriptionsor proscriptions for action."63 Norms provide an intersubjective context in which discourse and behavior are interpretedand either condoned or condemned by third
parties.64As general standards,norms are codified and (sometimes) implemented
in the form of specific rules, which actors then choose to obey, break, or redefine.65For example the civilian immunity norm is expressed in Article 13 of the
1st Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions: "The civilian population and
individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from

61.
62.
63.
64.
65.

Peterson 1992, 17.


Cockburn2001.
Krasner 1983, 2.
Kratochwil and Ruggie 1986.
Onuf 1998.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 671

militaryoperations."66This general standardhas generatednumerousspecific rules


including limits on attacks against civilians, an obligation of belligerents to distinguish themselves from the civilian population, and an obligation of civilians to
refrain from hostilities, among others.67 In this section, my focus is less on complicity with specific rules as it is on the broader normative meanings within the
regime. I turn later to the mannerin which norms generate specific configurations
of prescriptive rules that then exert regulative effects. For now I am interested
primarilyin what the concept of the "innocent civilian" means to actors engaged
in the protection of war-affectedpopulations.
Norms may relate to configurationsof gender in several ways. "Gendernorms"
explicitly define appropriaterelations between and among men and women: for
example, the norm that men should protect rather than harm women translates
into the rule for boys "don't hit girls." Other norms may be ostensibly sex-neutral
but possess a gender bias, applying to men and women differently. For example,
the norm "dress appropriately"applies to everyone, but what it means will vary
according to sex. Moreover, in addition to their directive aspect, norms also contain parameters, which define the conditions under which the norm's prescriptions
or proscriptions are expected to be upheld.68Seemingly sex-neutral norms may
encode gender if the conditions under which they are held to apply vary according
to the sex of those in question. For example, norms against sexual promiscuity are
routinely criticized as exhibiting such a double standard.
The distinction between "gender norms" and "gendered"norms is important
because gender beliefs exert a constitutive effect only on the former.According to
Wendt, "ideas ... have constitutive effects when they create phenomena that are
conceptually or logically dependent on them."69 Norms regulating gender relations are constituted by the gender beliefs that underlie them. However, the norm
"dress appropriately"is not itself logically dependent on a gender bias existing
within the norm. Such gender beliefs might, however, exert a constitutive effect
on the practices (such as sex-differences in appropriatedress) that then perpetuate
and normalize such bias. As I argue below, the use of language is such a practice
whose form may be constituted by embedded gender beliefs.70
The civilian immunity norm is not a "gender norm." Rather it is a sex-neutral
norm protecting those not taking a direct part in hostilities at a given time. However, the immunity norm is gendered insofar as women and children are more
likely than men to be associated with civilian status. While in principle all civilians are to be protected on the basis of their actions and social roles, in practice
only certain categories of the population (women, children, elderly, sick, and disabled) are presumed to be civilians regardless of the context.71

66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
71.

Quoted in Bouchet-Saulnier2002, 46.


Kalshoven 2001.
Shannon 2000.
Wendt 1999, 88.
Fierke 1996.
Carpenter2003.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

672

InternationalOrganization

This discourse is evident throughoutthe development of the immunity norm.


During the Enlightenment,to which modern laws of war are traced, the immunity
of women and children informedjurists' discussion on the civilian/combatant distinction.72For Vattel, the innocent included "women, children, feeble old men and
the sick";73Grotius expanded these categories include "not only women and children but also all men whose way of life is opposed to war-making."74 Decades
before Grotius, Gentili had devoted an entire chapter of his work to the immunity
of women and children from attack.75Although the innocence of noncombatant
men was a matterof argument,hinging on occupational status, women's and children's innocence was treated, both by these writers and later commentators, as
"self-evident," or, in Vitoria's words, an "objective material fact."76According to
Francisco Suarez, writing in the early seventeenth century, "it is implicit in natural law that the innocent include children, women and all unable to bear arms."77
As previously noted, such assumptions are idea-driven behavior as they do not
reflect the historical record of women's participationin combat. It was never women's inherent "inability to bear arms"but their socially constructed disinclination
to do so that accounts for disparitybetween male and female fighters, and this disparityhas rarelybeen absolute.78Thus, both the sociolegal exclusion of women from
combat and the assumption that they, therefore, do not fight are social constructs.
If adult women have been presumed "civilian" even when they were not, adult
men have been positioned as "presumptivecombatants,"regardless of their actual
societal roles.79Of the Enlightenmenttheorists, Vitoria made this argumentmost
forcefully: "Everyone able to bear arms should be considered dangerous and must
be assumed to be defending the enemy king: they may therefore be killed unless
the opposite is clearly true."80 With regard to noncombatants,defined according
to "objective criteria,"(first and foremost age and sex) the presumptionwas innocent until proven guilty; but with regard to "combatants,"the early jurists sought
proof of "innocence"to spare life ratherthan proof of guilt to take it. Suarez wrote,
"Humanjudgement [sic] looks upon those able to take up arms as having actually
done so."8 This traditioncan be seen more recently in Walzer, whose discussion
of guerrilla war suggests that when there is doubt, any adult male should be considered a legitimate target.82

72. See Carr 2002; and Hartigan 1983.


73. Vattel 1916, 271.
74. Quoted in McKeogh 2002, 115. For a detailed discussion of the gender discourses informing
Grotius's writing, see Kinsella 2003.
75. Hartigan 1980, 144.
76. Ibid., 84.
77. Quoted in Hartigan 1980, 94-95.
78. See Cooke 1993; and Blom 2000.
79. This term was coined by former UNPROFOR officer David Harland, during a personal interview in August 2002.
80. Quoted in Hamilton 1963, 142.
81. Quoted in Hartigan 1980, 94.
82. Walzer 1977, 192.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 673

Since the draftingof the 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions,
the legal requirementsfor distinguishing between combatants and civilians have
rested with the act of causing harm rather than the role status of the actor.83In
practice however, actors in internationalsociety are still influenced by older formulations that defined entire categories of the population as presumptive combatants or presumptive noncombatantson the basis of sex and age rather than their
role as agents.84
For example, gender assumptions inform states' compliance with civilian immunity norms. Most obviously, they are reflected in sex-selective patternsof killing worldwide, epitomized by massacres of "battle-age" men and boys in the
Balkans.85Before killing male civilians at Srebrenicain 1995, GeneralRatko Mladic
stated that the freeing of "women, children and the elderly" demonstratedBSA
complicity with norms of noncombatantimmunity.86
If state actors respond to gender assumptionswhen distinguishing civilians from
combatants or constructing excuses for collateral damage, the civilian protection
community employs the same discourse in the language they use to encourage
respect for civilians.87For example, in condemning and encouraging strong action
on Kosovo after the pivotal Racak massacre, where thirty-seven out of forty-five
people killed were adult men, the President of the Security Council stated "Civilians were killed, including seven women and at least one child."88 Calls for action to protect civilians typically exhibit this gendered character as well.
Representative Ron Coleman, D-Texas, argued in 1993, "The U.S. will have to
accept the moral responsibility to intervene where innocent women and children
are being slaughtered in the name of ethnic cleansing."89 This language also appears in post-hoc argumentsthat action should have taken place when it did not,
regardlessof which civilians were placed at risk by inaction. Describing the Rwandan genocide in which the majority of the direct victims were male,90 Scott Feil
writes: "Do we, the members of the internationalcommunity, really require that
more innocent women and children be slaughtered by the thousands to cause a
change in our priorities and level of concern?"'91
Thus, while gender is not constitutive of civilian immunity in a Wendtiansense,
gender is encoded within the parametersof the immunity norm: while in principle

83. See McKeogh 2002; and Palmer-Fernandez1998.


84. See Goldstein 2001, 402; and Enloe 1998, 52.
85. See (http://www.gendercide.org).
86. Silber and Little 1996, 268.
87. Carpenter2003.
88. UNSC 1999.
89. Quoted in "ColemanJoins Calls for Action in Bosnia," GarnettNews Service, 23 April 1993. It
has been arguedthat the emphasis on women and children being killed has drawn attention away from
systematic sexual violence as a war crime of gravity comparable to killing civilians. See Copelon
1999, 334; and Rodgers 1998.
90. See Jones 2002b. It should also be noted that not all Rwandan women were "innocent"of the
genocide. See Africa Watch 1995. Hamilton 1999 has described how gendered assumptions of innocence influenced UNHCR's actions in Rwanda.
91. Feil 1998, 1.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

674

InternationalOrganization

the "innocent civilian" may include other groups, such as some adult men, the
presumptionthat women and children are civilians whereas adult men may not be
means that "women and children"signifies "civilian"in a way that "unarmedadult
male" does not.92
Similarly, gender beliefs are embedded within a second category of meaning
central to the civilian protection network: the concept of the "especially vulnerable." As Keck and Sikkink have pointed out, advocacy networks have a greater
likelihood of success if issues are framed in terms of bodily harm to vulnerable
populations.93To the extent that civilian protection agencies such as UNHCR can
define their work in terms of assisting the "vulnerable,"they are better able to sell
their programsto donor governments.94 This emphasis also helps protection agencies gain leverage over actors on the ground with which they must negotiate.95
As with the broadercategory of "civilian," "especially vulnerable"groups were
demarcatedin the early post-Cold-War era on the basis of age and sex ratherthan
context. This usage, equating "women and children" with vulnerability, has proliferated to become a mainstay of internationaldiscourse on civilian protection.
For example, the verbatim records of the Security Council debates on the protection of civilians in 1999 containtwenty referencesto innocentor vulnerable"women
and children" as a category, but only two references to the specific protection of
civilian men along with women and children. The assumption that women and
children are more likely than men to be direct targets of attack is articulated fifteen times. There are no references to the protection of civilian men as a particular group or of the specific vulnerabilities they face in war-affected regions.96
Actors within the civilian protection network have never agreed on how to define "vulnerability."Protectionworkerswhom I interviewed made reference to two
partially conflicting definitions. To some, "vulnerability"accrues from physical
characteristics, such as age or disability, which make certain individuals inherently less able to withstand attack or escape from harm.97For example, young
children under five are physically more susceptible to disease and malnutrition;
the elderly or the disabled are less mobile and self-sufficientthan able-bodiedadults.
It is persons with these types of physical vulnerabilities for which the Geneva
Conventions sets down specific guidelines for treatment.98
To what extent can the inclusion of women per se be justified on the basis of
their inherentphysical vulnerability?The answeris only certain women may rightly

92. Carpenter2003.
93. Keck and Sikkink 1998, 204.
94. Personal interview, Kris Janowski, UNHCR Public Relations Division, August 2002.
95. Frohardt,Paul, and Minear 1999, 45.
96. See United Nations 1999.
97. This was the definition offered at the ICRC's Seminar on the Protection of Specific Categories
of Civilian, Geneva, May 2002.
98. For example, two of the four 1949 Conventions pertain specifically to the sick and wounded;
special provisions for women under the Conventions relate primarily to their physical needs during
pregnancy or while breastfeeding. See Kalshoven 2001.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 675

be included in this group. In particular,pregnant or lactating women possess inherentvulnerabilitiesstemmingfrom theirbiological sex.99However,it makes much
less sense to define able-bodied adult women without nursing infants as inherently
vulnerable.A healthy adult woman is far more similar to a healthy adult man than
to an elderly invalid or a child under five.100
Others emphasize socially induced vulnerability. Regardless of physical characteristics, some groups in some contexts are more vulnerable than others to particular forms of threat based on societal inequities in access to resources, role
expectations, or geographic location. It is less problematic to include women as
women in this constructionof vulnerability.For much of the time under any given
social system, women are indeed made vulnerable by social factors, and this is
particularlytrue during times of armed conflict.101Displaced women are vulnerable as heads of households in situations where resources are customarily distributed through male heads of households who may not be accompanying their
families.102In addition to the risk of attack from enemy forces (particularly sexual assault), women's vulnerability to violence and deprivation from their own
side increases in times of war.103In other words, "the vulnerabilityof women during armed conflict is a direct consequence of the discrimination that women face
throughouttheir lives." 104
Thus, there is a case to be made for conceptualizing all women as always socially vulnerable because of the gendered structureof power within war-affected
communities. What is problematicis the simultaneous exclusion of men's socially
induced vulnerabilities from the definition. While able-bodied men, as adults, are
among the least vulnerable group physically, they become far more vulnerable
than women, children, and the elderly to certain forms of attack in certain situations because of socially constructedassumptions about male gender roles.'05
The interrelationshipbetween the gendered discourses of innocence and vulnerability remains evident in the way that the Security Council discussed the protection of civilians in its 1999 debates.The recordsof these meetings contain numerous
quotes such as the following:106
The Council condemns attacksor acts of violence in situations of armed conflict directed against civilians, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups.

99. IASC 1999. The Geneva Conventions provide for special protection on this basis, including
evacuation priority for pregnantwomen and mothers of young children. See De Preux 1985.
100. See Goldstein 2001 on average physical differences between men and women.
101. On women's experiences in war see Lorentzen and Turpin 1998; Moser and Clark 2001; and
Rehn and Sirleaf 2002.
102. Mertus 2000.
103. Enloe 2000.
104. Gardamand Jervis 2001.
105. IASC 2002.
106. See United Nations 1999.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

676

InternationalOrganization

Violence in situations of armed conflict has reached dangerous proportions,


directed in most cases against civilians, especially women, children and other
vulnerable groups.
Womenand childrenin particular,as one of the most vulnerablesocial groups,
are most gravely affected in conflict situations.
These references define civilian protection and vulnerability in gendered terms,
while promoting the myth that most attacks against civilians are specifically directed at women and children ratherthan adult civilian men.
Althoughthese assumptionsare increasinglyquestioned,duringthe Balkans wars
they were entrenched and reproduced by the language used to frame the crisis,
mobilize donor support, and set the agenda. For example, when Sadako Ogata
wrote Secretary General Boutrous Boutrous-Ghali in 1993 to argue for international action in Srebrenica, she claimed that: "Civilians, women, children and
old people, are being killed, usually by having their throatscut."107 UNHCR Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia was quoted as saying, "The whole point of
this war is to ... target as much of the violence as possible against women and
kids." 108
Demonstrating the constitutive influence of gender on civilian protection discourse is not itself an explanation for sex-selective evacuation policy. To determine what caused protection workers to evacuate women and children, but not
adult men, from besieged cities, one must consider not merely the way in which
civilian protection is framed, but the decision-making procedures of protection
workers in the field who negotiated and carriedout evacuations. What constraints
did these protection workers face and how, if at all, were they influenced by gendered notions of innocence and vulnerability?

RegulativeEffects: The Evacuationof Srebrenica,


March 1993
Jones's implication, discussed above, is that gender beliefs exerted a direct effect
on the way that protection workers identified recipients of safe passage. His claim
is similar to Goldstein and Keohane's concept of ideas as "road maps," which
guide actors' assumptions about consequences in the absence of complete information.109In the Balkans case, this would have meant protectionworkers unreflectively evacuated women and children because the workers subscribed to the
assumption that those evacuees alone were "civilians" or "vulnerable."In the absence of clear criteria for distinguishing civilians from combatants, perhaps pro-

107. Quoted in Sudetic 1998, 175.


108. Reiff 1995, 201.
109. Goldstein and Keohane 1993.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 677

TABLE1. Hypotheses

HI: Aid workers used sex and age as a proxy variable for 'vulnerable civilians.'
Hla: Aid workers used sex and age as a proxy variable for 'civilians.'
Hlb: Aid workers used sex and age as a proxy variable for 'vulnerable groups.'
H2: Internationalactors used sex and age as proxies for 'vulnerable civilians'; aid workers were
socially constrained by a desire for approval from their internationalconstituencies.
H3: Local actors used sex and age as proxies for 'civilians'; aid workers were constrained by other
actors' demands.
H3a: Belligerents would only allow women and children to be evacuated.
H3b: War-affectedpopulations themselves preferredto evacuate only women and children.

tection workers relied on sex and age as proxy variables, limiting their activities
to those individuals most likely to be noncombatants (See Hla in Table 1). One
would then expect accounts of such evacuations and interviews with former field
workers to reflect the belief that this behavior was unproblematic.They should
exhibit a taken for grantedcharacterthat March and Olsen describe as a "logic of
appropriateness."110
But it would not be necessary for protection workers to subscribe to such a rule
for the ideas on which it is based to affect evacuation procedures.As well as operating directly to shape preferences and perceptions, norms may also exert indirect effects, serving as constraints whether or not a given actor (or his/her
community of concern) subscribes to them.11'As Thomas notes, the "logic of appropriateness"and the "logic of consequences" are not mutually exclusive.112 If
some actors in a situation subscribe to a norm, even those who do not may be
constrainedby it either because they seek the social approval of those who do or
because they lack material power to oppose the implementationof the norm.
First, if third parties on whom an actor relies for social approval subscribe to a
norm, the desire to maintainapprovalthroughconformity to legitimized practices,
even those it has not yet "internalized"113 may constrain the actor. The protection
workers may have responded to an external logic of appropriatenessimposed by
their expectations of how their behavior would be interpretedby the international
community on whom they relied for funding and legitimacy (H2 in Table 1). In
this case, the protectionworkersmight not have themselves internalizedthe women
and children first rule and might have even questioned it, but they might have
followed it nonetheless because to do otherwise would have been seen as socially
inappropriateby others on whose approvalthey depended. If these considerations
had an effect, we would expect interviewees to describe public relations concerns
as a socially constrainingfactor.

110.
111.
112.
113.

March and Olsen 1989.


See Hasenclever, Mayer, and Rittberger 1997, 136; and Krasner 1983.
Thomas 2001, 37.
See Finnemore and Sikkink 1998; and Checkel 1999.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

678

InternationalOrganization

Second, the fact that one actor subscribes to a norm can shape the available
policy options of anotherover whom he or she has bargaining leverage. The second actor is then materially constrained even if he or she is cognitively and socially indifferent to the norm's effects. Thus, even if protection workers had
preferredto evacuate all civilians, and even if this had been sanctioned by outside
observers, the workers may have been unable to evacuate the adult men because
of the beliefs of either the belligerents in question (H3a in Table 1), or the waraffected civilians themselves (H3b in Table 1).
If either the Bosnian Serb Army, or the Bosnian authorities, or both, opposed
the evacuation of adult men because they viewed the adult men as fighters rather
than civilians, this may have posed an intractablebarrierto negotiating access to
such men. The evidence should then bear out the extent to which protection workers attemptedto press this issue, what strategies they adopted, and why their efforts ultimatelyfailed. Alternatively,the Bosniac men themselves may have insisted
on staying behind, allowing their families to flee ahead of them; the women indeed may have demanded safe passage only for themselves and their dependent
children. If civilian men stayed behind for chivalrous reasons, there should be no
evidence that they sought to leave, and there should be evidence that they failed
to leave if they had the opportunity.
Explaining Sex-Selective Evacuation: Cognitive Maps
VersusConstraints
There is only weak support for Hypothesis (1) in Table 1 as an explanation for
sex-selective evacuation: protection workers themselves did not generally subscribe to a "women and children first"rule. Indeed, at Srebrenica 1993, their priority was primarily to the sick and wounded, many of whom were adult men.114
They acquiesced to the insistence of the local population that healthy civilians
should also be evacuated, and to the demandsof the belligerents that civilian males
should be excluded. Thus, while gender beliefs served as cognitive maps guiding
the strategies of the belligerents (see H3a in Table 1), they played only a partial
role in constructing the evacuation-strategies of protection workers themselves,
and this was not decisive. Primarily,gender beliefs affected the behavior of protection workers through the constraintsimposed by other actors.
First, to what extent did protection workers construct the civilian population
accordingto sex and age proxies (H1a in Table 1)? Evidence is mixed as to whether
protection workers themselves assumed that all adult men were fighters. Both the
UN Srebrenicareport and documents within the Dutch government use the terms
"military-agemen" and "fighters"interchangeably.115 But the weight of the evidence suggests that protection workers were fully aware that the civilian popula-

114. Hollingworth 1996.


115. See Harland 1999; and Rhode 1997, 336.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 679

tion included men. Many protection workers interviewed readily distinguished


between combatantsand male civilians, and written memoirs of the incidents frequently criticize the BSA's failure to distinguish between combatant and civilian
males."16 Even those interviewees who tended to conflate "civilian" with "women
and children"admitted,when prompted,that there were certainly many adult male
civilians.
Most protection workers were also fully cognizant of the specific vulnerabilities faced by adult civilian men (Hlb in Table 1). This awareness is borne out
both by interview data and the written record."17 While this awareness did not
translateinto a set of preferences for rules that would address men's vulnerabilities, lack of such preferences was not decisive in producing sex-selective evacuation policy. Nor were the protection officials directly influenced by a belief that
the internationalcommunity expected them to prioritize women and children (H2
in Table 1). Instead, when asked whether UNHCR would have preferredto evacuate all civilians irrespective of sex, most workers agreed that this would have
been ideal. Their inability to do so was apparentlythe result not of it being seen
as inappropriate,either by themselves or by the civilian protection network more
broadly, but of their freedom of action being materially constrained by the other
actors involved (H3 in Table 1).
Which external actors were primarilyresponsible for imposing a regime of discriminatory evacuation protocols based on gendered norms? There is little evidence that the war-affected populations themselves insisted on the evacuation of
women and children, but not men (H3b in Table 1)."8 Such a trend might have
been expected if civilian authoritiesalso subscribed to these gendered norms and
wished to maximize the number of "especially vulnerable"who left.
Instead, the general state of disorder that characterizedbesieged cities had already led to the breakdown of such social rules within the general population.
This disorderwas exemplified by behavior at food drop sites, where residents routinely killed each other over who would appropriate supplies."'9 The sick and
wounded, who would ordinarilyreceive priorityfor evacuation even before healthy
women and children, were betrayed at the Srebrenica evacuation by hordes of
civilians piling onto the buses.120 Families' primary concern was with their own

116. Hollingworth 1996; and Johnson 1999.


117. See Reiff 1995, 206.
118. Srebrenica'swomen, at the behest of the local officials, did lobby UNPROFOR General Philippe Morrillonto do something "in the name of women and children,"but this rhetoric seems to have
been aimed at urging the UN to provide humanitarianaid and security in situ ratherthan to evacuate
them without their men. The preferences of local activists must also be distinguished from those of
displaced families who had flooded into the enclave from surroundingvillages and were living in the
streets. See the account of General Morrillon's visit to Srebrenica in Neuffer 2002, 55-8. The key
point here is not what the war-affectedpopulation actually preferred,but the extent to which aid workers felt compelled to exclude men from convoys based on their understandingof those preferences.
119. Hollingworth 1996, 201.
120. Honig and Both 1997, 91.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

680

InternationalOrganization

welfare, and devising strategiesto reduce men's risk of execution was not the least
of their worries.
Many families refused evacuation in order to stay together, understandingthat
men's risk of death increased precisely when separated from their families. At
times, the men made efforts to secure their own escape.121 The likelihood of men
challenging the "women and children only" rule increased with their perception
that the fall of a town was imminent.'22 There were some instances of men and
boys disguising themselves as women to escape.'23 Yet once a sex-selective evacuation rule had been established, most men had little incentive not to comply
with the regime. Bosnian Serb soldiers were known for apprehendingadult men
caught on convoys, and UNHCR officials were willing to enforce the "women
and children only" rule.124 As one UNHCR official explained, "They were frightened to accept an evacuation."Instead,men were sometimes able to get out through
more covert methods. For example, the agency would often hire local men as
interpretersso that they could move with the protection crews; and UNPROFOR
officials often smuggled men out in their landrovers.125
These examples suggest that adult civilian men sought to leave rather than to
stay and fight, preferred to leave with their families if possible, and were prevented from doing so on evacuation convoys both by militias and by protection
workers enforcing evacuation agreements.Thus, the besieged population's adherence to gender rules does not appear to be an adequate explanation for the sex/
age demographics of evacuees.
The evidence supports the view that the belligerents, rather than the besieged
populationsthemselves, insisted on the exclusion of "military-agemen" from evacuation convoys (H3a in Table 1). Both the BSA and the Bosnian authorities preferred to keep adult men and older boys within the cities (See Table 2). Bosnian
Serb fighters considered the men "war criminals" and intended to execute or detain them en masse when the towns fell. Bosnian authorities needed conscripts to
defend the cities.126
BSA and Bosnian leaders were split on the question of whether to evacuate
other civilians. The BSA leadershiphad an incentive to release "presumptivenoncombatants"for three reasons. First, they well understood that the international
communityconsidered the deaths of women and children, as presumptivenoncombatants, a greater outrage that those of adult men, and the BSA sought to mini-

121. Harland 1999, 75.


122. For example, local representativesformulated an evacuation plan that included men at Srebrenica 1995; and at Zepa the authorities made several attempts to negotiate safe passage for men
when it was perceived that the town was lost. See Harland 1999.
123. Rhode 1997.
124. Hollingworth 1996.
125. Personal interview, former UNHCR field officer, September 2002.
126. Harland 1999.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 681

TABLE2. Belligerents'policy-preference structures


regarding evacuation
Bosnian Serb Army:
1. Evacuate sick and wounded, then women, children, elderly.
2. Evacuate no one.
Bosnian government:
If town still under siege:
1. Evacuate no one.
2. Evacuate sick and wounded, then women, children, and elderly.
3. Evacuate all civilians without discrimination.
If surrenderimminent:
1. Evacuate all civilians/safe passage for soldiers.
2. Evacuate no one.
3. Evacuate women, children, and elderly/soldiers flee on foot.

mize the public relations cost of overrunning towns.127Second, insofar as their


goal was primarilyto seize empty land ratherthan kill people, the BSA leadership
preferredthat the majority of the civilians choose to leave on their own, facilitating the repopulation of the towns with ethnic Serbs. Third, the BSA leadership
understoodthat the evacuation of men's families would both reduce the incentive
for men to fight (many were simply defending their families) and would reduce
the likelihood of Westernintervention, speeding the enclave's fall.128
From the Bosnian authorities'perspective, the calculus was the reverse. To the
extent that the suffering of "women and children"kept the internationalcommunity's attention, it was to their advantage to maintain a wide population base in a
particulartown.129 The Bosnian authorities also feared the breakdown in morale
and reduction in conscripts if families were to leave. However, the key argument
given for refusing evacuation offers was that it would facilitate ethnic cleansing
itself.130 The Bosnian authoritiesplayed into the West's fears of complicity in genocide by fueling the debate that to move people was to do the Serb's dirty work.
Thus the BSA was responding both to internalised gender beliefs by which civilian status was defined according to sex and age, and to the expectation of the
internationalcommunity's interpretationof the situation. First, gender beliefs operated as cognitive maps providing the Bosnian Serb fighters with a means of distinguishing between civilians and combatants:they simply constructedall military
age men as combatantsand thereforelegitimate military targets. Women and children, as presumptive noncombatants,were seen as nonthreateningand could be
raped and expelled, but if left alive would not likely rise up against the Serbs.

127.
128.
129.
130.

Cigar 1995, 144.


Neier 1998, 161.
Honig and Both 1997, 92.
Phone interview, former UNHCR field worker, Geneva, September 2002.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

682

InternationalOrganization

Secondly, Bosnian Serb decision-makers were restrained by their perception of


the internationalcommunity's moral predilections. They rightly guessed that the
West would be more concerned over women and children than over men, and that
sparing women and children from outright massacre could be used as a demonstration of at least marginal compliance with standardsof civilized behavior. In
this way, the likelihood of forcible interventionby the West would be reduced.'31
Bosnian authorities, making the same calculation, chose to keep women and
children as well as men in harm's way to provoke the sympathy of the outside
world. But because of the same tendency to see those who would intentionally
harm women and children as monsters, the Bosnian authorities could only take
this argumentso far. In part, this explains why at times, the Bosnian government
acquiesced with the evacuation of presumptivenoncombatantsdespite their initial
preferences.132 Because the BSA monopolized the moral high groundin their stated
desire to limit civilian casualties, they had more leverage in these negotiations.
In short, cognitive maps influenced the preferences of the belligerents; the normative perceptionsof the outside world influenced their relative bargainingpower.
Ultimately, when evacuations were negotiated, adult civilian men were excluded.
This satisfied the Bosnian Serb fighters, who retained their "legitimate targets";
the Bosnian Muslim authorities,who retained their pool of potential fighters; and
the internationalcommunity, who could satisfy itself at having "at least" assisted
the "most vulnerable."

Explaining Acquiescence: ConvergingLogics


of Appropriateness
I have shown that protection workers themselves did not create the conditions under which adult men were abandoned. The workers were not inherently biased
against the protection of male civilians. Rather, protection workers acted in the
context of constraints imposed by the belligerents with whom they had to negotiate access to civilian populations.1'33
Why then did protection workers on the ground comply with these demands to
evacuate accordingto discriminatoryrules? In particular,why did they do so when
the agreement of the war-affected civilians themselves on the legitimacy of these
procedures was lacking, placing protection workers in the position of enforcing
the belligerents' discriminatorypolicies? Were protection workers influenced only
by a logic of consequences or also by a logic of appropriateness-a tacit agree-

131. The BSA's desire for legitimacy is demonstratedby its insistence in July 1995 that UNPROFOR Major Frankensign a document confirming that the surrenderof Srebrenicahad been carried out
in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. See Honig and Both 1997, 45.
132. The perception that a town was shortly to fall also influenced Bosnian officials' willingness to
go along with evacuation schemes. See Honig and Both 1997, 93; and Sudetic 1998, 188.
133. Cutts 1999, 25.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 683

ment with the Serbs about the legitimacy of the "women and children only" rule?
And if the latter, did this logic of appropriatenessmanifest as a constraint vis-avis the broadernetwork (H2 in Table 1), or more directly as a cognitive map (HI
in Table 1)?
A useful way to begin analysis is to consider, counterfactually, which preferences for evacuation strategies would have coincided with UNHCR's operational
principles, absent the belligerents' demands and assuming gender beliefs had no
influence over protection workers' thinking. If protection agencies were completely immune to the "women and children first" gender rule, and based their
evacuation strategies on their preferredoutcomes alone, they would have wanted
to evacuate the entire civilian population. Then, if priority had to be assigned for
reasons of space limits or because of a vulnerability assessment, the following
criteria would likely have been followed.
The agencies would have wished to evacuate sick and wounded first, in accordance with custom laid down in the Geneva Conventions and existing UNHCR
guidelines. Pregnant women would be included in this category as a particularly
vulnerablegroup for medical reasons. The second two categories to receive priority would have depended for their rankingon an assessment of whether the fall of
the town was imminent. If siege conditions were expected to continue for the foreseeable future, children under five and the elderly should be evacuated next, these
being most vulnerable to deprivation.134 Moreover, because the guidelines on the
evacuation of children specify that they must be evacuated with their family units,
both mothers and fathers, as well as older siblings, should be evacuated along
with children under five.135 But, if the fall of the town is likely to occur, placing
the political leadership as well as men and boys per se at risk of imminent massacre, their escape should be given preference to the evacuation of small children
who at any rate may be able to leave once the siege conditions end. As reflected in
Table 3, contingent on an analysis of the particularcontext, those civilians to receive the least priority for evacuation under such a situation could actually be
healthy adult women without children, who would be no more vulnerable than
any one else to indiscriminate attack, may or may not be more vulnerable than
healthy adult men to deprivation,and would be less vulnerable than adult men to
outrightexecution.'36At a minimum,however, civilian adult men and women without children, in the absence of gender rules prioritizing women's escape, might
have been expected to be accorded the same priority for evacuation.

134. The risk of death because of deprivation and exposure, in addition to shell-fire, was severe.
See Physicians for Human Rights 1996, 95-8.
135. See Ressler 1992; and Caverzasio 2000, 40.
136. Assessing women's relative risk of death because of deprivationwould requirean understanding of different adult women's access to food in a given situation, which can often be subject to various forms of discrimination within a war-affected community. Regarding risk of death by execution,
although adult women without children were not likely to be taken aside and shot, they were vulnerable to sexual assault, and this form of torturewas sometimes followed by murder.See Wilmer 2002.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

684

InternationalOrganization

TABLE3. Protection agencies' policy-preference structures regarding


evacuation: Counterfactualversus actual
Counterfactual policy preferences (based on vulnerability assessment as articulated in UNHCR
guidelines, assuming absence of gender beliefs):
If fall of town imminent, evacuate
1. All civilians.
2. Physically vulnerable.
a. Sick.
b. Wounded.
c. Pregnant.
3. Execution-risk individuals.
d. Politico-cultural elites (both sexes).
e. Civilian men and boys.
4. Deprivation-riskindividuals.
f. Children under five with mothers.
g. Elderly.
5. Civilian women without children.

If siege ongoing, evacuate


1. All civilians.
2. Physically vulnerable.
a. Sick.
b. Wounded.
c. Pregnant.
3. Deprivation-riskindividuals.
a. Children under five with families.
b. Elderly.
4. Execution-risk individuals.
a. Politico-cultural elites (both sexes).
b. Civilian men and boys.
5. Civilian women without children.

Actual policy preferences (as extrapolatedfrom narrativeaccounts in interviews and memoirs):


1. All civilians.
2. Sick, wounded, pregnant.
3. All women, children, and elderly.

The actual policy-preferencerankingsI extrapolatedthroughmy interviews were


somewhat different. The most preferredstrategy-to evacuate all civilians without distinction-was, as describedabove, consistent with the lack of influence from
gender. However, when ranking civilians for priority according to vulnerability,
the potential strategies were not ranked so as to wholly correspond with the
UNHCR's underlyingmandateof first helping those most vulnerableto dying. Sick
and wounded were, as predicted, ranked first. But women, along with children
and the elderly, were always ranked next: the expectation of an ongoing siege
versus an imminent fall did not alter protection workers' preference structuresin
negotiations, as it would have given an objective vulnerability assessment. The
idea that women's relative vulnerabilitycould be judged by assessing their risk of
death through either sexual assault or their status as a member of the leadership
did not generally come up in protection workers' narratives:more often women's
entitlement to escape seemed to be taken as a given on the basis of a generic
notion of "vulnerability."Nor were the rules pertaining to the evacuation of children interpretedso as to keep entire family units together. It was assumed that if
children were evacuated with their mothers, this was good enough.137Most notably, the option of evacuating men and boys while leaving adult women and chil-

137. Hollingworth 1996, 210.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 685

dren behind was almost entirely absent.138To the extent that men were advocated
for, it was in the context of the "all civilians," group: they were never assigned
priority over other groups. More often, men were defined as the lowest stage of
priority.One former UNHCR field officer told me, "In hindsight it stands out [that
men were overlooked] but at the time there were so many overwhelming problems, even to save a percentage of the women and children ... so you didn't even
get to that stage where you could argue on behalf of the men."
It may rightly be pointed out that even if protection workers had advocated for
men and boys' safe passage or, more limitedly, for fathers' evacuation with their
families, that the belligerents would simply have said no; and perhaps evacuation
negotiations would have collapsed altogether,leaving other civilians in danger. In
such a context, evacuating women and children was surely the best option, and
the question of whether protection workers did so for ideational or strategic reasons is perhaps impossible to resolve. However, if protection workers had other
options that they did not choose, or did not consider, the argumentthat they were
acting on a logic of appropriatenessis much stronger.
What might protection workers have done instead? They might have simply refused to evacuate at all. Indeed, if removing women and children contributedto
the fall of towns, isolated men and boys in preparationfor massacre, and reduced
the incentive of the internationalcommunity to intervene, then it is possible that
keeping the women and children with the men might have saved their lives. It
does not appearthat UNHCR considered this option. A former UNPROFORofficer described how, when the Bosnian government initially blocked evacuation for
precisely this reason, UNHCR negotiators tried to convince them to allow the
women and children out.139
Withdrawingfrom protectioninitiativesto protestviolations of internationalrules
has many precedents within the protection community. For example, the ICRC
withdrew from several operations in Bosnia when its workers came under attack;o40 UNHCR eventually withdrew protection to refugee camps in Zaire when
it became clear they were being used as sanctuaries for armed elements; 41 and
UNHCR initially opposed evacuation because of the concern that it would contribute to ethnic cleansing.142 More analogously, when belligerents insist on services going only to certain groups, there are cases in which aid agencies have
withdrawnservices entirely until they could be distributedin an impartialmanner.
For example, Oxfam and CARE withdrew aid from boys' schools to protest the
exclusion of girls under the Taliban.143

138. Only one respondent suggested such an option, and this person was speaking in abstractterms,
having not personally participatedin evacuation operations.
139. Personal interview, Geneva, August 2002.
140. Minear et al. 1994, 43.
141. Loescher 2001, 311.
142. UNHCR 2000.
143. Mertus 2000.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

686

InternationalOrganization

So why was the option of protesting civilian men's exclusion from evacuation
by refusing to cooperate not on the UNHCR's menu of choices? Simply put, excluding men was not considered a form of gender discriminationor a violation of
humanitarianrules regardingthe impartialdistributionof assistance. Although the
Geneva Conventions prohibit adversely distinguishing between civilians on the
basis of sex, this concept is understood only to apply to discrimination against
women.144 Of course, had the protection workers considered the option of taking
a stand with respect to this issue, they may still have chosen to save as many lives
as possible, and given the situation this choice would probably have been defensible. But the point is that this option was not considered.
On the basis of this evidence it is clear that a logic of appropriatenessresulted
in ambivalence toward the protection of adult male civilians, but it is harder to
disentangle whether this logic operated primarily at the cognitive level or as a
social constraint. Many respondents expressed a sense that their mandate did not
include advocacy for adult men to the same extent as to the women and children.
The denial of adult civilian men's and boys' right to flee in Bosnia was taken for
granted by many protection workers as an unfortunatebut understandableaspect
of the situation:
Evacuation was ... simply not an option for [the men], tragic though that
was

. ..

Frankly in the case of Bosnia, most men were at least potentially fighters, so
every man had to be accounted for ...
The Serbs felt they had to detain or interrogateall the men, and quite justifiably so, I think.
But this sense of ambivalence was often mixed. Some respondentsretrospectively
admittedmen should have been given greaterattentionbut justified UNHCR's actions by reference to the internationalconstraints. (Even these respondents failed
to suggest that men and boys should have been evacuated first.) The interconnection between these causal pathways is evident in the following quote by a
UNHCR official:
When you startprioritizing, any way you go, there are certain categories that
are easy to deal with. There's the vulnerable, but then there are the vulnerable who are politically easy. Elderly people, young children who need an operation, pregnant women, that's easy.... There is not a good understanding
of how vulnerable men are.... Most of us on the ground there understood
[men were vulnerable], but we lived with it. I think it was unfortunatelythe
reality and we knew we could get women and children out, so why not get
them out.

144. See Lindsey 2001; and Gardamand Jervis 2001. In a personal interview, ICRC Legal Advisor
Antoine Bouvier said, "It's a bit far-fetchedto consider [sex-selective evacuation] adverse distinction."

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 687

This evidence suggests that the manner in which actors process information and
frame moral decision-making is not always so distinguishable from the broader
social milieu in which they act. The gender beliefs within the discourse of the civilian protectionnetwork were reproducedby and thus ensnaredactors within particular protection agencies. For example, when protection agencies questioned the
ethics of evacuatingcivilians, their concern rested with the question of moving anyone at all, not that of discriminatingagainst certain civilians.'45 Framing the dilemma in this way mirroredthe debate over the ethics of humanitarianevacuation
at the internationallevel. As Sadako Ogata articulatedthe dilemma, "To what extent do we persuade people to remain where they are, when that could well jeopardize their lives and liberties? On the other hand, if we help them to move, do we
not become an accomplice to 'ethnic cleansing'?" 146UNHCR Special Envoy JoseMariaMendiluce later told journalistDavid Reiff, "Wefound ourselves in the morally impossible position of furtheringthe goal of ethnic cleansing in order to save
people's lives." 147
Thus, the dilemma was expressed at all levels within the network as one of abetting or choosing not to abet ethnic cleansing. Yet one of the key ways that sexselective evacuation worked to the advantage of the BSA was in removing those
civilians whose deaths would most likely attractthe opprobriumof the international
community.In evacuating "women and children"as synonymous with the "civilian
population,"protection agencies replicated the notion that the remaining population was composed of "fighters"and legitimised BSA targetingof those individuals.
This twin dilemma was not articulatedin the debate on whether evacuation was
tantamountto ethnic cleansing. Indeed, it was precisely the ability to claim that
they had at least "saved the innocent"that enabled UNHCR to resolve its queasiness about aiding the BSA. Taking a stand after the 1993 evacuation of Srebrenica, Special Envoy Mendiluce said, "We may denounce ethnic cleansing, but
when you have thousands of women and children at risk who want desperately to
be evacuated, it is my responsibility to save their lives." 148
Given these findings, a combination of the "cognitive maps" and "social constraints"pathways makes the most sense in explaining this acquiescence to the
belligerents' demands. This convergence might be better expressed as what
Finnemore and Barnett have described as the "power of international organizations"-equally applicable to advocacy networks. In "classifying" the world,
"fixing meanings" and "diffusing norms," networks of moral meaning in international society delimit the parametersof acceptable action, and even the ways in
which it is possible to think about acting, in a given milieu.149Yet as these authors
point out, organizations can become trapped in their own classification schemes
and exhibit "pathologies," or strategic behavior inconsistent with their mandate.

145.
146.
147.
148.
149.

Only one interviewee identified leaving men behind as a second moral dilemma.
UNHCR 2000, 222.
Reiff 1995, 212.
UNHCR 2000, 222.
Finnemore and Barnett 1999.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

688

InternationalOrganization

This situation may be neither wholly a result of individual cognitive bias nor of
rationality under external social constraints, but the combined effect of snaring
actors within an institutional discourse ill-fitted to the strategic context. "Once in
place, an organization's culture, understood as the rules, rituals and beliefs that
are embedded in the organization,has important consequences for the way individuals who inhabit that organizationmake sense of the world. It provides interpretive frames that individuals use to generate meaning."150
The civilian protection network had, early in the Bosnian war, promulgated a
conception of "especially vulnerablegroups"that reflected gendered norms within
internationalsociety, ratherthan an assessment varying by context. Certain agencies within the network, UNHCR in particular,were simultaneously engaged in
an intensive public relations campaign to draw attention to the Balkans crisis, legitimize their own civilian protection initiatives, and secure a redefined role in
post-Cold Warinternationalsociety.151This meant highlightingsuccesses and carefully avoiding publicity fiascos to keep internationalfunding pouring in. The rhetoric of "women and children"in need of rescue resonated with internationalethics
and became part of the agency's self-image and mandate. This rhetoric also fed
back into and reproducedthe gender beliefs embedded within the civilian immunity norm. In this context it would never have occurred to protection agencies to
evacuate men and boys first, even if they had had the chance. Nor would it have
been appropriate,given these norms, to put the lives of women and children at
risk to advocate for adult males. As one UNHCR official said, "when it came to
men and adolescent boys, we recognized we probably wouldn't get boys out, we
knew we wouldn't get men out, so we didn't try."
The warring parties imposed sex-selective evacuation rules as material constraints.BSA and Bosnian governmentforces interpretedcivilian immunityaccording to a logic of gender:both in mapping the civilian/combatant distinction and in
calculating the parameterswithin which the internationalcommunity was likely to
interpret and enforce the civilian immunity norm. But as actors within the network, protection officials at Srebrenicawere also influenced by gendered normsinterpretiveframes used to generatemeaning-as they considered how to act in the
context of these constraints.Genderednotions of "vulnerability"made it easier to
acquiesce, given the mannerin which donors and onlookers would likely interpret
their actions either way. The result was that the physical security of many children
and women was improved, at the cost of their husbands' and fathers' lives.

Conclusion
This study demonstratesthat gender norms influenced both the moral framework
by which the civilian protection regime developed and the mannerin which civil-

150. Ibid., 719.


151. Loescher 2001.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 689

ian protection operations were carried out in the former Yugoslavia between
1991-95. From a practicalperspective, the empirical findings suggest that the "innocent civilian" is a gendered concept and that thinking about civilian protection
according to gender stereotypes can inhibit effective policy. Thus, it would behoove the protection community to correct for this gender bias both in the ways
they frame civilian protection and their operationalpractices.'52
From a theoretical perspective, this study advances explanatory scholarship on
gender by demonstratinghow such analysis looks when integrated into conventional constructivist epistemology rather than the IR feminist frame. It also advances literatureon normsin world politics by exposing the mannerin which gender
assumptions can piggy-back on seemingly sex-neutral categories such as the "innocent civilian," thereby generatingprescriptive"genderrules" that underminethe
moral logic of the original norm itself. Thus, in contrast to their well-known role
as explicit norm-entrepreneurs,internationalorganizationsand transnationaladvocacy networks may also find themselves capturedby implicit norms, either unwittingly or as part of their strategic framing process.153These norms may then work
through organizational culture so as to undermine operational imperatives, as at
Srebrenica.Analysts of traditionalthemes in IR theory will need to pay close attention to gender as well as other implicit normative systems to explain adequately the phenomena with which they are concerned.
Substantively,the issue addressedhere raises some additionalquestionsthatmight
be carried forth either by gender constructivists or IR feminists, or both. While
this article focused on the concepts of innocence and vulnerability,I avoided differentiatingtypes of vulnerabilityto which men and women were exposed, as both
civilians and combatants.This might be anotherentry point for repeatingthis analysis. In particular,many women on all sides were subjectedto mass rape and forced
impregnation, and this was successfully placed on the civilian protection network's agenda for the first time during the Balkans wars (unlike the rape of men,
which received little attention).154 If the perception that women should be saved
from rape trumpedthe belief that men should be saved from execution, this could
be interpretedas another intriguing paradox in protection policy that could only
be understoodin terms of gender constructs.
Because it is difficult to generalize from the somewhat atypical case of Srebrenica, comparative work evaluating the extent to which a "women and children
first"or "women and children only" rule appearsin different contexts would build
on this preliminaryanalysis. Under what conditions are belligerents less inclined
to use sex as a proxy for "combatant"?Are adult male civilians more likely to be
spared in cases where fewer men are mobilized, or is a critical mass of female
combatants the pivotal factor in reducing the salience of gender as a cognitive
map? How do the strategies and opportunitiesof protection workersdiffer in cases

152. For some useful suggestions, see Jones 2002a.


153. I am thankful to Lisa Martin for this point.
154. See Stigalmeyer 1994; and Zarkov 2001.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

690

InternationalOrganization

where belligerents' gender assumptions are not so deterministic, and to what extent are these strategies and opportunities constant based on the public relations
demands of the greaterprotection network?
Another point that I have not explored is the extent to which the gendered basis
for civilian immunity in the network norms themselves are undergoing change as
a result of the strain imposed by the complex emergencies of the 1990s. Much has
happened since 1993. Civilian protection agencies learn from their catastrophes.
The gender-mainstreamingprocess within the protection community has awakened theorists and practitionersto the dangers of casting women as passive victims rather than agents of change in conflict and postconflict contexts.'55 While
there still exist no protection initiatives targeting civilian men as such, and while
gender-basedviolence continues to be defined primarilyin reference to women,156
both the ICRC and OCHA have recently begun to tentatively acknowledge men's
particularvulnerabilities as civilians."57It would be interesting to trace these attempts at reframing"vulnerability"and examine the extent to which they flounder
or, if successful, produce additional gendered side effects.

References
Africa Watch. 1995. Rwanda,Not So Innocent: WhenWomenBecome Killers. New York:Africa Watch.
Amnesty International.1998. Human RightsAbuses Against Womenin Kosovo Province. London:Amnesty International.
Askin, Kelly Dawn. 1997. WarCrimesAgainst Women:Prosecution in International WarCrimes Tribunals. The Hague, Netherlands:MartinusNijhoff.
Ball, Howard. 1999. Prosecuting WarCrimes and Genocide: The TwentiethCenturyExperience. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
Bennett, Olivia, Jo Bexley, and Kitty Warnock, eds. 1995. Arms to Fight, Arms to Protect: Women
Speak Out About Conflict. London: Panos.
Berry, Nicholas 0. 1997. War and the Red Cross: The Unspoken Mission. New York: St. Martin's
Press.
Blom, Ida. 2000. Gender and Nation in InternationalComparison.In GenderedNations: Nationalisms
and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century,edited by Ida Blom, KarenHagemann,and Catherine Hall, 3-26. New York:Oxford University Press.
Bouchet-Saulnier, Frangoise. 2002. The Practical Guide to Humanitarian Law. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.
Burg, Steven L., and Paul S. Shoup. 1999. The Warin Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention.Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe.
Caprioli, Mary. 2003. Feminist Phallacies or Scientific Certainties?Examining Feminist Criticisms of
Feminist Empiricists and of 'Mainstream'IR. Unpublished manuscript, University of Tennessee,
Knoxville.
Carpenter,Charli. 2002a. Gender Theory in World Politics: Contributions of a Non-Feminist Standpoint? In International Studies Review 4 (3):153-65.

155. Moser and Clark 2001.


156. Ward2002.
157. See Lindsey 2001; and IASC 2002.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 691

. 2002b. Beyond Gendercide: Operationalizing Gender in Comparative Genocide Studies. In


International Journal of Human Rights 6 (2):77-101.
. 2003. Gender, Constructivism and InternationalNorms: The Protection of Civilians in International Society. Unpublished manuscript,University of Oregon, Eugene.
Carr,Caleb. 2002. The Lessons of Terror:A History of WarfareAgainst Civilians: WhyIt Has Always
Failed and WhyIt Will Fail Again. New York: Random House.
Carver,Terrell. Forthcoming. Gender/Feminism/IR. International Studies Review.
Caverzasio, Sylvia Giossi, ed. 2001. StrengtheningProtection in War:A Searchfor Professional Standards: Summaryof Discussions Among Human Rights and Humanitarian Organizations. Geneva:
InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross.
Checkel, Jeffrey. 1999. Norms, Institutions, and National Identity in Contemporary Europe. International Studies Quarterly 43 (1):84-114.
Cigar, Norman. 1995. Genocide in Bosnia: The Policy of "Ethnic Cleansing." College Station: Texas
A&M University Press.
Cockburn,Cynthia. 2001. The Gendered Dynamics of Armed Conflict and Political Violence. In Victims, Perpetrators or Actors? Gender, Armed Conflict and Political Violence, edited by Caroline
Moser and Fiona Clark, 13-29. London: Zed Books.
Cooke, Miriam. 1993. Wo-Man: Retelling the War Myth. In Gendering War Talk, edited by Miriam
Cooke and Angela Woollacott, 177-204. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Copelon, Rhonda. 1999. Surfacing Gender:ReengravingCrimes Against Women in HumanitarianLaw.
In Womenand War in the TwentiethCentury: Enlisted Withor WithoutConsent, edited by Nicole
Ann Dombrowski, 332-59. New York:GarlandPublishing.
Cutts, Mark. 1999. The HumanitarianOperation in Bosnia, 1992-95: Dilemmas of Negotiating HumanitarianAccess. Journal of HumanitarianAssistance. Available at (http://www.jha.ac/articles/
u008.pdf). Accessed 24 June 2003.
Danner, Mark. 2000. Endgame in Kosovo: Ethnic Cleansing and American Amnesia. In Kosovo: Contending Voices on Balkan Interventions, edited by William Joseph Buckley, 56-72. Grand Rapids,
Mich.: William B. Eerdmans.
De Preux, J. 1985. Special Protection of Women and Children. International Review of the Red Cross
25 (248):292-302.
Enloe, Cynthia. 1998. All the Men Are in the Militias, All the Women Are Victims: The Politics of
Masculinity and Femininity in Nationalist Wars. In The Womenand WarReader, edited by Lois Ann
Lorentzen and Jennifer Turpin,50-62. New York: New York University Press.
2000. Maneuvers: The InternationalPolitics of Militarizing Women'sLives. Berkeley: Univer*.
sity of California Press.
Feil, Scott. 1998. Preventing Genocide: How the Early Use of Force Might Have Succeeded in Rwanda.
Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict.
Fierke, Karen M. 1996. Multiple Identities, Interfacing Games: The Social Construction of Western
Action in Bosnia. European Journal of International Relations 2 (4):467-97.
Finnemore, Martha, and Michael Barnett. 1999. The Politics, Power and Pathologies of International
Organizations.International Organization53 (4):699-732.
Finnemore, Martha, and KathrynSikkink. 1998. InternationalNorm Dynamics and Political Change.
International Organization 52 (4):887-917.
Frieden, Jeffry A. 1999. Actors and Preferences in InternationalRelations. In Strategic Choice and
InternationalRelations, edited by David A. Lake and Robert Powell, 39-76. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Frohardt,Mark, Diane Paul, and Larry Minear. 1996. Protecting Human Rights: The Challenge to
Humanitarian Organizations. Providence, R.I.: Thomas Watson Institute for InternationalStudies.
Gardam,Judith G., and Michelle J. Jervis. 2001. Women,Armed Conflict and International Law. The
Hague, Netherlands:Kluwer Law International.
Ghobarah,Hazem, Paul Huth, and Bruce Russett. 2003. Civil Wars Kill and Maim People Long After
the Shooting Stops. American Political Science Review 97 (2):189-202.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

692

InternationalOrganization

Goldstein, Joshua S. 2001. Warand Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice-Versa.
Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
Goldstein, Judith,and Robert O. Keohane. 1993. Ideas and Foreign Policy: An Analytical Framework.
In Ideas and Foreign Policy: Beliefs, Institutions, and Political Change, edited by Judith Goldstein
and Robert O. Keohane, 3-30. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Hamilton, Bernice. 1963. Political Thoughtin Sixteenth CenturySpain. Oxford: Clarendon.
Hamilton, Heather. 1999. Refugee Women, UNHCR and the Great Lakes Crisis. Available at (http://
www.pressroom.com/-hbhamilton/srp.html). Accessed 24 June 2003.
Harland,David. 1999. Report of the Secretary General Pursuantto General Assembly Resolution 53/
35: The Fall of Srebrenica.UN Document A/54/549. New York: UN.
Harroff-Tavel,Marion. 1993. Action Taken by the InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross in Situations of InternalViolence. InternationalReview of the Red Cross 33 (294):195-220.
Hartigan, Richard. 1983. The Forgotten Victim: A History of the Civilian. New York: Transaction
Publishers.
Hasenclever, Andreas, Peter Mayer, and Volker Rittberger. 1997. Theories of International Regimes.
Cambridge:Cambridge University Press.
Helsinki Watch. 1992/1993. WarCrimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. New York: Human Rights Watch.
Hollingworth, Larry. 1996. Merry Christmas,Mr. Larry. London: William Heineman.
Honig, Jan Willem, and Norbert Both. 1997. Srebrenica: Record of a WarCrime. New York: Penguin
Books.
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). 1999. Mainstreaming Gender in the HumanitarianResponse to Emergencies. Available at (http://www.reliefweb.int/library/GHARkit/files/IASCSWG_Background_Paper-Final.pdf).Accessed 24 June 2003.
. 2002. Growing the Sheltering Tree: Protecting Rights Through HumanitarianAction. New
York:UNICEF.
InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 1995. Annual Report. Geneva: ICRC.
Johnson, James Turner. 1999. Morality and ContemporaryWarfare.New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.
Jones, Adam. 1994. Gender and Ethnic Conflict in Ex-Yugoslavia. Ethnic and Racial Studies 17
(1):115-34.
* 2000. Gendercide and Genocide. Journal of Genocide Research 2 (2):185-212.
. 2002a. Genocide and HumanitarianIntervention:Incorporatingthe Gender Variable.Journal
of HumanitarianAssistance. Available at (http://www.jha.ac/articles/a080.htm). Accessed 24 June
2003.
. 2002b. Gendercide and Genocide in Rwanda. Journal of Genocide Studies 4 (1):65-94.
Kalshoven, Fritz. 2001. Constraints on the Waging of War. Geneva: InternationalCommittee of the
Red Cross.
Keck, MargaretE., and KathrynSikkink. 1998. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Keohane, Robert. 1991. InternationalRelations Theory: Contributions of a Feminist Standpoint. In
Gender in International Relations, edited by Rebecca Grantand Kathleen Newland, 41-50. Bloomington: IndianaUniversity Press.
Kesic, Obrad. 1999. Women and Gender Imagery in Bosnia: Amazons, Sluts, Victims, Witches and
Wombs. In Gender Politics in the WesternBalkans: Women and Society in Yugoslavia and the
YugoslavianSuccessor States, edited by Sabrina Ramet, 187-202. University Park: Pennsylvania
State University Press.
Kinsella, Helen. 2003. Securing the Civilian: Gendering Grotius. Unpublished manuscript,University
of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
. Forthcoming. For a Careful Reading: The Conservativism of (Gender) Constructivism. International Studies Review.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Gender, Norms, and HumanitarianEvacuation in the Balkans 693

Krasner, Stephen. 1983. StructuralCauses and Regime Consequences: Regimes as Intervening Variables. In International Regimes, edited by Stephen Krasner, 1-21. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University
Press.
Kratochwil, FriedrichV., and John GerardRuggie. 1986. InternationalOrganization:A State of the Art
on an Art of the State. International Organization40 (4):753-75.
Lake, David A., and Robert Powell. 1999. InternationalRelations: A Strategic-Choice Approach. In
Strategic Choice and International Relations, edited by David A. Lake and Robert Powell, 3-38.
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Lindsey, Charlotte.2001. WomenFacing War.Geneva: InternationalCommittee of the Red Cross.
Loescher, Gil. 2001. The UNHCRand WorldPolitics: A Perilous Path. New York: Oxford University
Press.
Locher, Birgit, and Elisabeth Prugl, 2001. Feminism and Constructivism:WorldsApart or Sharing the
Middle Ground?International Studies Quarterly 45 (1):111-30.
Lorentzen, Lois, and Jennifer Turpin, eds. 1998. The Womenand WarReader. New York: New York
University Press.
Maas, Peter. 1996. Love Thy Neighbor: A Story of War.New York: Knopf.
March, James G., and Johan P. Olsen. 1989. Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of
Politics. New York:Free Press.
McKeogh, Colm. 2002. Innocent Civilians: The Morality of Killing in War.New York: Palgrave.
Mercier, Michble. 1994. Crimes WithoutPunishment:HumanitarianAction in the Former Yugoslavia.
London: Pluto Press.
Mertus, Julie. 2000. War'sOffensive on Women:HumanitarianAction in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Bloomfield, Conn.: KumarianPress.
Minear, Larry, Jeffrey Clark, Roberta Cohen, Dennis Gallagher, lain Guest, and Thomas G. Weiss.
1994. HumanitarianAction in the Former Yugoslavia:The U.N. 's Role 1991-1993. Providence, R.I.:
Thomas Watson Institute for InternationalStudies.
Moravcsik, Andrew. 1997. Taking Preferences Seriously. International Organization 51 (4):513-53.
Moser, Caroline O. N., and Fiona Clark, eds. 2001. Victims, Perpetrators or Actors? Gender, Armed
Conflict and Political Violence. London: Zed Books.
Mueller, John. 2000. The Banality of Ethnic War.International Security 25 (1):42-70.
Neier, Aryeh. 1998. War Crimes: Brutality, Genocide, Terrorand the Search for Justice. New York:
Times Books.
Neuffer, Elizabeth. 2002. The Key to My Neighbor's House. New York: Picador.
Nikolic-Ristanovic, Vesna. 2000. Women,Violence and War:WartimeVictimizationof Refugees in the
Balkans. Budapest, Hungary:Central EuropeanUniversity Press.
Onuf, Nicholas. 1998. Constructivism:A User's Manual. In International Relations in a Constructed
World,edited by Vendulka Kubalkova,Nicholas Onuf, and Paul Kowert, 58-78. New York: M. E.
Sharpe.
Palmer-Fernandez,Gabriel. 1998. Targeting of Civilian Populations In War. In Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, edited by Ruth Chadwick, vol. 1, 509-25. San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press.
Peterson, V. Spike. 1992. Introduction.In Gendered States: Feminist (Re) Visions of International Relations Theory edited by V. Spike Peterson, 1-30. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Reinner.
Physicians for Human Rights. 1996. WarCrimes in the Balkans: Medicine Under Siege in the Former
Yugoslavia1991-1995. Boston: Physicians for Human Rights.
Rehn, Elisabeth, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. 2002. Women,Warand Peace: The Independent Expert's
Assessment of the Impact of Armed Conflict on Womenand Women'sRole in Peace-Building. New
York: UN Development Fund for Women.
Reiff, David. 1995. Slaughterhouse:Bosnia and the Failure of the West.New York:Simon and Schuster.
Ressler, Everett. 1992. Evacuation of Childrenfrom Conflict Areas: Considerations and Guidelines.
Geneva: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees/United Nations InternationalChildren's
Emergency Fund.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

694

InternationalOrganization

Rhode, David. 1997. Endgame: The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica, Europe's WorstMassacre Since
WorldWarTwo. New York:Farrar,Straus and Giroux.
Rodgers, Jayne. 1998. Bosnia, Gender and the Ethics of Intervention in Civil Wars. Civil Wars 1
(1):103-6.
Rogel, Carole. 1998. The Breakupof Yugoslaviaand the Warin Bosnia. Westport,Conn.: Greenwood
Press.
Seager, Joni. 1997. State of Womenof the WorldAtlas. 2d ed. London: Penguin.
Shannon, VaughnP. 2000. Norms Are What States Make of Them: The Political Psychology of Norm
Violation. International Studies Quarterly44 (2):293-316.
Silber, Laura,and Allen Little. 1996. Yugoslavia:Death of a Nation. New York:Penguin Books.
Steans, Jill. 1998. Gender and InternationalRelations: An Introduction.New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers
University Press.
Stigalmeyer, Alexandra. 1994. Mass Rape: The WarAgainst Womenin Bosnia-Herzegovina. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press.
Stover, Eric, and Gilles Peres. 1998. The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar.Zurich: Scalo.
Sudetic, Chuck. 1998. Blood and Vengeance: One Family's Story of the War in Bosnia. New York:
Norton.
Thomas, Ward. 2001. The Ethics of Destruction: Norms and Force in International Relations. Ithaca,
N.Y: Cornell University Press.
Tickner, J. Ann. 2001. Gendering WorldPolitics: Issues and Approaches in the Post-Cold War Era.
New York:Columbia University Press.
United Nations. 1999. Security Council VerbatimMinutes: Meetings on the Protection of Civilians in
Armed Conflict/ UN Docs. S/PV.3977, S/PV.3978, and S/PV.3980.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2000. State of the World'sRefugees. Geneva: United Nations.
UNHCR-UNICEF-WHO. 1992. EmergencyReport of June 2. Geneva: United Nations.
United Nations Security Council (UNSC). 1999a. Report of the Secretary-Generalto the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. UN Document S/1999/957. New York: UN.
Vattel, Emmerich de. 1916. The Law of Nations. Washington,D.C.: Carnegie Institute.
Vulliamy, Ed. 1994. Seasons in Hell: UnderstandingBosnia's War.New York: St. Martin's Press.
Walzer, Michael. 1977. Just and Unjust Wars.New York: Basic Books.
Ward, Jeanne. 2002. If Not Now, When? Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Refugee, Internally
Displaced, and Post-Conflict Settings, A Global Overview. New York:Reproductive Health for Refugees Consortium.
Weller, Marc. 2000. The Relativity of HumanitarianNeutrality and Impartiality.Journal of Humanitarian Assistance. Available at (http://www.jha.ac/articles/a029.htm). Accessed 24 June 2003.
Wendt, Alexander. 1999. Social Theory of International Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press.
Whitworth,Sandra. 1994. Feminismand InternationalRelations: Towardsa Political Economy of Gender in Interstate and Non-GovernmentalInstitutions. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Wilmer, Franke. 2002. The Social Construction of Man, the State and War: Identity, Conflict and
Violence in the Former Yugoslavia.New York:Routledge.
Wolfson, Stephen, and Neill Wright. 1994. A UNHCR Handbookfor the Military on Humanitarian
Operations. Geneva: United Nations.
Zalewski, Marysia. 1995. Well, What is the Feminist Perspective on Bosnia? InternationalAffairs 71
(2):339-56.
Zarkov, Dubravka. 2001. The Body of the Other Man. In Victims, Perpetrators or Actors? Gender,
Armed Conflict and Political Violence, edited by Caroline Moser and Fiona Clark, 69-82. London:
Zed Books.

This content downloaded from 128.239.123.173 on Tue, 11 Mar 2014 09:35:46 AM


All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions